Overview | Evaluation Reports
The Teacher Quality Distribution Reports will examine the distribution of teacher quality across LEAs, schools, and classrooms at two points in time: before the start of Race to the Top–funded work and at the end of the grant period. Through empirical analysis, the first report will establish a baseline from which to examine changes in teacher quality and distribution in order to allow for the overall evaluation of the collective of RttT initiatives that aim to enhance teacher quality and to more equitably distribute teachers. These analyses will help determine the distribution of teacher quality across LEAs, schools, and classrooms within schools. Distribution of other characteristics associated with teacher quality – such as experience, teaching in-field, and national board certification – will be examined. Quantitative analysis also will examine the relationship between value-added measures and teacher licenses. Equity analyses will be conducted to examine the relationship between teacher quality and LEA locale, LEA supplemental pay, school and classroom poverty, minority composition, and achievement.
- Evaluation of overall changes in distribution of higher-quality & effective teachers and leaders
- Evaluation of Regional Leadership Academies
- Evaluation of NC Teacher Corps and TFA Expansion
- Evaluation of Induction Program for Novice Teachers
- Evaluation of Strategic Staffing Efforts
- Evaluation of NCVPS Blended Courses
RttT Initiative Context
Overall Policy Objective(s)/Purpose(s) of the Teacher and Leader Supply and Distribution Initiatives
- Increase the number of principals prepared to lead transformational change in high-need schools;
- Increase the numbers of new college graduates teaching in NC;
- Strengthen the preparation of novice teachers;
- Employ strategic staffing approaches to optimize the use of available human capital; and
- Make further use of virtual and blended classes for students to expand curriculum offerings and provide effective teachers when they are not available locally.
Evaluation Reports | Overview
|Evaluation of overall changes in distribution of higher-quality & effective teachers and leaders|
|1. The Distribution of Teacher Value Added in North Carolina
To establish a baseline measure of the distribution of effective teachers statewide before the start of Race to the Top, the Evaluation Team analyzed “value-added” EVAAS index scores for the 2008-09 through 2009-10 school years. The Team conducted two primary analyses: a descriptive analysis of the geographic distribution of high and low value-added teachers; and an assessment of students’ access to higher and lower value-added teachers. Prior to RttT, students in low-achieving, high-poverty, and high-minority schools tended to have teachers with lower value-added scores; however, this study challenges perceptions that geography alone prescribes the distribution of high value-added teachers across the state. It appears that high value-added teachers take positions in any given region of the state and that their concentration in any LEA may be driven, at least in part, by the policies of each LEA. Thus, it may be possible for policies and programs to improve the distribution of high value-added teachers and give all students more equitable access to more high value-added teachers. A follow-up report will assess distribution at the end of the RttT period.
|Available; posted December 2013|
|2. The Distribution of Teachers in North Carolina, 2009-2013: Research Brief
North Carolina’s Race to the Top plan included several interventions designed to improve the effectiveness of teachers and reduce inequities in students’ access to high value-added teachers. This report provides a follow-up to the baseline report of teacher distribution and assesses changes in the distribution of high value-added teachers that may have resulted from implementation of the state’s plan. After four years of Race to the Top interventions: Fewer reading and English teachers and fewer 5th grade teachers in reading and mathematics were identified as exceeding and not meeting growth expectations than teachers in other grades and subjects; Students assigned to high value-added teachers tend to show substantially more achievement growth than do students assigned to low value-added teachers, but the size of the gain varies by subject; High-poverty schools and low-achieving schools tend to have lower mean teacher value-added scores, on average; There is some evidence of inequity in the distribution of teachers between classrooms within schools; There is suggestive evidence that inequitable access to high value-added teachers declined by 2013; and There was a slight increase in the variation in mean teacher value-added scores between schools within districts, though two large districts reduced differences in teacher value-added across their schools.
|Available; posted August 2015|
|Evaluation of Regional Leadership Academies|
|1. Regional Leadership Academies: Cost-Effectiveness Framework
The plan for the cost-effectiveness analysis for this initiative (to be completed in 2014) – and the model for cost-effective analyses for other initiatives – is to (a) Collect expenditure data from each of the RLAs; (b) Separate ongoing costs from start-up costs and non-essential costs; (c) Conduct twice-yearly surveys with RLA matriculants as they move through the programs and into NC schools; (d) Contact comparison programs and solicit their cooperation around cost data collection and program participant outcomes; and (e) Report in 2014 on short-term cost-effectiveness findings.
|Available; posted March 2012|
|2. Final 2012 activity report
The state’s three Regional Leadership Academies (RLAs), which currently serve high-need schools in 31 school districts, function under a clear set of leadership development principles. Each RLA has a program-specific program philosophy, curriculum focused on instruction and school improvement, and well-designed and integrated coursework and field work. Relative to traditional North Carolina MSA Programs, the RLAs appear to be much more deliberate, effective, and successful in developing and incorporating critical, research-based features into their programs, though data on the long-term and distal outcomes of the RLAs are not yet available. Most Cohort 1 participants found internship placements in targeted (high-need) schools and LEAs and subsequently secured employment in similar schools.
|Available; posted March 2013|
|3. North Carolina Regional Leadership Academies: Final 2013 Activity Report
The Regional Leadership Academies (RLAs) utilize essential features of effective leadership preparation programs as organizing principles in designing and delivering their preparation programs. The content, pedagogy, and experiences reflect best practices for developing leaders, and fidelity of implementation of program designs has been strong. Participants have found internships in targeted schools and LEAs, and the internship experience has provided them with mentoring and coaching that they believe will enhance their effectiveness as principals. Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 graduates have found employment in low-performing schools and LEAs. RLA directors should focus more time and attention on: 1) Working more assertively with LEAs to ensure that the leaders who matriculate from the programs are placed in and then supported in their efforts to lead transformational change in high-need schools; and 2) Critically reviewing the recruitment, training, and matching processes of mentors and coaches for the principal candidates, as well as replacement plans for mentors and coaches who are not effective.
|Available; posted March 2014|
|4. North Carolina Regional Leadership Academies: Final Summative Activity Report
The policy objective of the RLA initiative has been to increase the number of principals qualified to lead transformational change in low-performing schools in both rural and urban areas via three academies. This evaluation concludes that: all three RLAs use “best practices” for leadership preparation programs to organize, design, and deliver their programs; fidelity of implementation of program designs has been strong; participants in every cohort in each RLA have found internship placements in targeted schools and LEAs; the year-long internship experience for the principal candidates is a distinguishing feature of the programs that likely will enhance participants’ effectiveness as principals; and sixty-five percent of all RLA participants are working in schools that fall within the state’s 3rd and 4th school poverty quartiles. Data on the longer-term impacts of the RLAs are not yet available.
|Available; posted August 2014|
|Evaluation of NC Teacher Corps and TFA Expansion|
|1. North Carolina Teacher Corps Start-Up and Teach for America Expansion: Initial Findings on Recruitment, Training, and Placement
NCTC recruitment yielded 441 candidates, of whom 34 were selected (29 remain in the program; 22 have teaching jobs). TFA placed 157 corps members in 2011-12, and 219 in 2012-13—many in teaching “pods” of 3 or more. Almost 90% of TFA corps members complete two-year commitments.
|Available; posted October 2012|
|2. North Carolina Teacher Corps: Year One Implementation Report
In 2013, 108 corps members were accepted, and 84 completed the summer training and were eligible for employment—higher than the previous year, but short of the official target (150). The number of eligible LEAs grew from 17 to 30, and as of September 2013, 96 corps members (23 second-year and 73 first-year) were employed in 80 schools across 23 LEAs. Summer Institute training events about which Corps members were most positive included the in-class teaching experiences and small-group breakout sessions. Colleagues and principals generally were positive about the preparation levels of the corps members. Corps members unequivocally agreed that the ongoing support provided by NCTC leadership after they found employment was strong and responsive. Eleven of the 30 inaugural cohort corps members left the program either before securing employment or before completing their first year of teaching; however, five new corps members were brought on mid-year, and NCTC responded to the early departures with several new retention procedures.
|Available; posted November 2013|
|3. North Carolina Teacher Corps Final Report: Impact, qualitative assessment, and policy recommendations
This final report includes a summative analysis of quantitative and qualitative data gathered during the first two years of the NCTC initiative, as well as a final summary of TFA’s RttT-funded expansion. In total, 94 NCTC corps members were employed across 23 LEAs between 2012-13 and 2013-14; however, in neither its first nor its second year did NCTC meet its targets (100 and 150 corps members, respectively). The quality of the candidates admitted to the program increased in the second year, and early evidence suggests that retention rates may be higher for NCTC than for similar programs; it is not clear, however, whether NCTC’s emphasis on recruiting corps members with North Carolina ties is a key reason for those retention rates. Sufficient quantitative evidence of NCTC member effectiveness was not available in time for inclusion in this report. Overall, between 2010-11 and 2013-14, TFA-ENC exceeded its overall goal for growth in Eastern North Carolina. TFA corps members continue to be rated both quantitatively and qualitatively as highly effective teachers, relative to their early-career peers. During the 2013 session, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that named TFA as the administrator of NCTC as of July 1, 2014, beginning with the 2014-15 cohort. TFA plans to expand its presence in Eastern and in Piedmont North Carolina in two of the LEAs formerly served by NCTC.
|Available; posted October 2014|
|Evaluation of Induction Program for Novice Teachers|
|1. North Carolina New Teacher Support Program: First Annual Race to the Top Evaluation Report
NC NTSP supports novice teachers in the state’s lowest-achieving schools with the goal of enhancing their instruction, improving effectiveness, and decreasing turnover. The program includes a Summer Institute, year-round instructional coaching, and targeted professional development. Most NC NTSP teachers in the first cohort reported feeling confident in their teaching ability after the Summer Institute, and early evidence from classroom observations suggests that they may be slightly more proficient as instructors, but that they also may have slightly less self-efficacy than comparison teachers.
|Available; posted April 2013|
|2. North Carolina New Teacher Support Program: Interim Evaluation Report
This report provides formative feedback on Year 2 (2012-2013) implementation of the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NTSP). Institutes: Evidence indicates positive perceptions of Summer and Winter Institute quality, with stronger perceptions of quality for the Winter Institute. Instructional Coaching: Participants expressed positive perceptions of instructional coach quality, as well as significantly higher levels of satisfaction with NTSP instructional coaches than with school-/ LEA-provided mentors; NTSP teachers also indicated significantly higher levels of satisfaction with their NTSP instructional coach than comparison teachers expressed about their school-/LEA-provided mentors. Professional Development: Participants expressed a higher level of satisfaction with NTSP-provided professional development than with school-provided professional development; participants also expressed a higher degree of satisfaction with NTSP-provided professional development than comparison teachers expressed about school-provided professional development. Self-Efficacy and Job Satisfaction: NTSP teachers reported higher levels of self-efficacy and job satisfaction than did comparison teachers.
|Available; posted March 2014|
|3. Initial Results from the Race to the Top Evaluation of the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program: A Policy Brief
Downloads: Policy Brief
This brief presents results from the first full-year of NC NTSP implementation (2012-13). Overall, analyses show that: (a) Students taught by NC NTSP teachers made significantly larger achievement gains in elementary and middle grades mathematics and reading than students taught by other novice teachers working in similar schools; (b) NC NTSP teachers were significantly more likely to return to the state’s public schools overall, to the same Local Education Agency (LEA), and to the same school in the following year (2013-14) than other novice teachers working in similar schools; and (c) NC NTSP teachers rated the program’s instructional coaching and professional development as more beneficial than their school-provided mentoring and professional development and also as more beneficial than other novice teachers rated their school provided-mentoring and professional development.
|Available; posted February 2015|
|4. North Carolina New Teacher Support Program: Final Race to the Top Evaluation Report
Across four years, NC NTSP served over 1,100 teachers in 114 schools. NC NTSP participants felt that the program was more useful than and had a more positive impact on their teaching than similar services provided by their schools. NC NTSP teachers had significantly higher EVAAS estimates than comparison sample teachers in fifth and eighth grade science. Positive and significant EVAAS results were concentrated within NC NTSP Cohort 1 teachers; NC NTSP Cohort 2 teachers were generally no more or less effective than their peers. By cohort, NC NTSP Cohort 1 teachers had significantly higher evaluation ratings on four standards in 2013-14. NC NTSP teachers were significantly more likely than their peers to return to teaching in North Carolina public schools, to the same LEA, and to the same low-performing school. Finally, there were differences in program participation and implementation across regions and years, as well as overall in 2013-14, after the program doubled in size. The Evaluation Team recommends sustaining the program after RttT and focusing on strategies to counter the decline in program participation and effectiveness evident in 2013-14.
|Available; posted August 2015|
|Evaluation of Strategic Staffing Efforts|
|1. Local Strategic Staffing in North Carolina: A Review of Plans and Early Implementation
Eighteen (18) LEAs developed full strategic staffing plans, and 55 others developed partial plans. Highlights: There is evidence of the development of 2nd-generation strategic staffing plans; several plans suggest potential for sustainability; and there is healthy diversity in strategic staffing approaches
|Available; posted September 2012|
|2. State Strategic Staffing: Recruitment Incentive for Lowest-Performing Schools – Race to the Top Formative Evaluation Report
The State Strategic Staffing vouchers were not used as a recruitment incentive; all teachers that received the voucher were informed of the incentive after they had transferred to their new school. Teachers who received incentives reported that their choices to move had to do with their personal lives, and principals reported that they had limited information and lacked confidence in using the incentive as a recruitment tool. Voucher recipients indicated that vouchers alone would not sufficiently incentivize teachers who received them to remain in eligible schools. Also, respondents believed that vouchers should be available to effective teachers already in the schools; some principals indicated that the vouchers caused resentment among highly-effective teachers already in the schools. In general, recipient teachers and principals reported positive transitions, citing improvements in student test results and behavior, enhanced collaborative efforts among colleagues, and teacher movement into leadership roles, though some did experience a lack of collaboration among peers.
|Available; posted September 2013|
|3. Strategic Staffing in North Carolina: A Summative Review of Local and State Implementation across the Race to the Top Period
State Strategic Staffing: 17 teachers received the state recruitment incentive in 2013-14, but none indicated an awareness of the incentive before choosing schools. There is no evidence that the incentive functioned as either a recruitment or retention tool, though they did note that the vouchers could help to improve school culture indirectly by increasing responsibilities administrators expected of their voucher recipients. The primary challenge to the success of the voucher program was a lack of communication. Local Strategic Staffing: 21 LEAs developed comprehensive strategic staffing plans and 49 more developed plans that included some elements of a comprehensive plan. LEAs invested about $76 million in their plans across the RttT period. The Evaluation Team identified several key characteristics of successful local plans: they offered incentives but also paid attention to non-monetary variables; they leveraged their LEA’s existing pool of effective teachers; they allowed for flexible implementation across schools; and they identified sustaining funds early on, as well as ways to leverage existing funds. The Team recommends that LEAs: prioritize development of a comprehensive communications plan; design plans with shorter-term staffing targets, rather than with longer-term student achievement goals; plan for sustainability; work together across school district boundaries; explore multiple plan options; and stay aware of the latest research.
|Available; posted September 2014|
|Evaluation of NCVPS Blended Courses|
|1. North Carolina Virtual Public School Blended Learning STEM Courses: A Formative Assessment of Initial Implementation, Part I
In the first semester of the NCVPS blended learning STEM initiative (Fall 2012), courses appear to be reaching students typically under-represented in STEM (females, minorities, etc.), and the Forensics course in particular exhibits multiple strengths. Technology tools, online resources, and project-based learning components are being integrated into courses with increasing frequency. Face-to-face and online teacher relationships are strong and constructive. To strengthen the initiative, NCVPS should improve technology-related guidance for teachers and students, restructure the use of iPads, more clearly define the role of online teachers, revisit and revise identified areas of weakness in the courses, and partner with other groups working on similar initiatives
|Available; posted April 2013|
|2. North Carolina Virtual Public School Blended Learning STEM Courses: Participant Experiences from the First Year of Implementation (First-Year Formative Assessment, Part II)
Face-to-face and online teachers felt empowered to shape the courses, and they established regular communications with each other. Most teachers grew in their acceptance of the value of student-centered, project-based instruction, but implementing these strategies was challenging. Teachers also noted changes in their teaching in other classes. Teachers and students expressed concern about the rigor and relevance of the courses. Also, teachers remained concerned about the available professional development. Students wanted more interaction with their online teachers. Some students’ academic toolkits grew, but self-direction remained a challenge.
|Available; posted October 2013|
|3. North Carolina Virtual Public School Blended Learning STEM Courses: Final Report: Impact, Qualitative Assessment, and Policy Recommendations
There were signs of overall initiative improvement that emerged during the second year of implementation: teachers were more comfortable with the program in Year Two; capacity increased among participating teachers; some teachers indicated that their participation impacted their performance in their traditional classes as well; and the low student-to-teacher ratio helped students by providing opportunities for meaningful contact with their teachers. The Evaluation Team suggests: addressing ongoing concerns about course content, design, and delivery; reducing the number and complexity of program features; better integrating professional development; engaging participating teachers earlier and involving them more in planning and design; providing balanced coverage for all aspects of STEM; formalizing a participant feedback loop; designing methods for supporting phased engagement of face-to-face teachers; and developing a longer-term initiative vision.
|Available; posted August 2014|